4.) Institutional collapse: The Media
There was a time when the American media was held in high esteem. The late CBS News correspondent Walter Cronkite was known as “the most trusted man in America.” He ended his broadcasts with “and that’s the way it is.” He was Uncle Walter.
Sure, he leaned liberal, but he was ultra-professional. NBC News had a very serious and very respected team – Chet Huntley and David Brinkley.
Those days are long gone.
In 2004, Dan Rather destroyed his career and reputation by relying on “fake but accurate” documents that falsely accused President George W. Bush of dodging the draft. This hit piece one week before the 2004 election and it was an attempt to rig that election in favor of Democrat John Kerry. No Russian’s need to apply. The Democrats are pros at election interference.
The attempt failed because of a new media phenomenon known as the blogosphere. Dirty tricks have been a part of politics for a long time, but this was the first time that members of the media were accused of being complicit in political dirty tricks. They had crossed the line from reporters to advocates.
Print media takes a beating
The New York Times suffered a permanent black eye when reporter Jayson Blair in 2003 was caught fabricating entire stories out of thin air. Despite repeated complaints from colleagues to management due to his shoddy work, Blair was repeatedly promoted. This was because Blair is black, and senior management did not want their diversity hire exposed as a fraud.
As bad as these incidents were, the 2010s were far worse.
In 2008, the media openly campaigned for Barack Obama.
They loved him. In the 2010s, the media deliberately suppressed stories that could have damaged his reelection chances. While Obama did get reelected, the media seems to have done itself permanent irreversible damage. It is one thing to cover news badly.
To purposely refuse to cover real news for ideological reasons is truly harmful on so many levels.
Whenever anyone brings up serious Obama administration scandals, the rebuttal is that these are all old news and have been covered ad nauseam. If this were true, then basic questions at the heart of these scandals would have already been answered. The media deliberately never asked certain questions because they did not know the answers.
The Fast and Furious gunrunning sting resulted in the deaths of 200 innocent Mexicans, many of them children.
It also caused the death of U.S. Border Agent Brian Terry. When Attorney General Eric Holder was asked who started the Fast and Furious program, he refused to answer the question. He was the first Attorney General held in criminal and civil contempt of Congress. To this day the media has never asked or gotten an answer to the most basic questions. Who ordered the Fast and Furious program?
The IRS targeting scandal did not get anyone killed, but many innocent Americans were harmed. IRS head Lois Lerner oversaw the weaponization of the IRS against political opponents. Organizations applying for tax-exempt status saw their applications slow-walked for years. The IRS in many cases demanded lists of people who attended tea party meetings, an absolute violation of their civil rights. The purpose of this was to intimidate people from participating legally in the political process if they tried to publicly take positions that disagreed with the Obama administration. Using the power of an office to crush popular dissent is the exact story the media would normally cover. To this day, the media has never gotten an answer to the most basic of questions.
Who ordered the IRS targeting program?
The Benghazi scandal was a matter of life and death.
On September 11, 2012, radical Islamic terrorists with connections to al Qaeda stormed the U.S. Embassy in Libya. Four men were murdered: U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, and Sean Smith.
Because the Obama administration was running for reelection on a platform of defeating al Qaeda, a terrorist attack six weeks before the 2012 election would have seriously harmed that narrative.
The administration knew it was radical Islamic terrorism, but told the American people it was based on an anti-Muslim You-Tube video that almost nobody saw.
The Libyans knew it was al-Qaeda. So did top administration officials. Most horrific, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew and lied. To the parents, spouses, and families of the slain men. To the American people.
To protect their political careers, the film-maker of the video was imprisoned.
Even though the guy turned out to be innocent, the media justified the move by saying that he had a criminal record anyway for other actions. For months, trying to find out “who pushed the video” narrative was impossible.
Finally, it was revealed to be Obama’s advisor Ben Rhodes.
Two questions the media have never asked and still have never been answered linger. Where was President Obama while this was going on? Where was Hillary Clinton? The American people have no idea. Clinton asking famously, “What difference does it make?”
The Benghazi attack itself did not involve any illegal action by the administration.
It would have exposed them to charges of being unprepared and incompetent. That is not illegal. They could have made an attempt to explain that away.
The real Benghazi scandal is that no attempt was made to rescue the four men who were murdered.
For 13 hours, they fought off their attackers while waiting for rescue help that never came. Survivor Kristian “Tanto” Paronto and others have publicly testified that a deliberate order to withhold help was given. The rescuers were ordered to “stand down.”
The administration fear was that a failed rescue effort would be political suicide right before an election, and draw comparisons to President John F. Kennedy’s “Bay of Pigs” fiasco. Politics were put before trying to save lives.
The one question that still has never been asked or answered must be answered. Who gave the stand-down order? If anyone other than President Obama gave the order, it was illegal. Only the President of the United States is allowed to give that order. If he did, then-President Obama is responsible for the deaths of Amb. Stevens, Tyrone Woods, Glen Doherty, and Sean Smith.
The administration kept citing national security as a justification for refusing to answer these questions. The real reason was a personal embarrassment.
The 2010s also saw the media deliberately ignore major human rights stories for ideological reasons.
Venezuela was once a prosperous oil-rich country. Socialist President Hugo Chavez and his successor Nicholas Maduro drove Venezuela into the ground. As of 2018, 94% of Venezuelans were living in poverty. People were eating garbage to survive.
This human rights tragedy would be on the news every night if Venezuela had a right-wing government. Because the rulers are socialists, the media deliberately ignores the story. Socialism is gaining popularity in America among many Democrats. The media is determined not to show the consequences of socialism, especially during an election year.
This again brings us back to presidents Obama and Trump. Despite demands for Maduro to step down, neither of these leaders has the stomach for regime change.
Hong Kong was once a completely free Western area controlled by the British.
In 1997, Great Britain fulfilled its promise of returning Hong Kong to China after the 100-year lease was up. China slowly began implementing changes in Hong Kong that restricted freedom. Those changes reached ahead in 2019 when the people of Hong Kong took to the streets to demand freedom.
The Chinese are trying to put down the protests while stopping short of another Tiananmen Square debacle.
People fighting and dying for the right to be free should be major news, but the American media is doing backflips to keep this story off of the airwaves. Many of these media companies are part of major conglomerates with significant business interests in China. The media may lean socialist in their hearts, but their actions are motivated by raw capitalism.
The #MeToo #Woke Movement
A major story in the 2010s was the Hollywood and media culture of powerful men sexually harassing and even sexually assaulting women. When actress Rose McGowan accused Hollywood mogul, Harvey Weinstein of rape, actress Alyssa Milano created the #MeToo movement.
Yet the media did not lead this story. They sat on it for as long as they could. Ronan Farrow had the expose on Weinstein but his bosses at NBC News spiked the story. This was because Weinstein had evidence of sexually abusive behavior by “Today” host Matt Lauer.
The media was desperate to make this a bipartisan scandal. Fox News saw Roger Ailes, Bill O’Reilly and James Rosen all lose their jobs for various sexual offenses. To increase the media determination to make this bipartisanship, conservatives who faced unproven accusations were lumped in with liberals who were guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The media amplified accusations against President Donald Trump, Judge Roy Moore, and Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
Grifter attorney Michael Avenatti was a daily media guest of CNN and MSNBC because he promised that he had the goods on Kavanaugh. He had nothing, and soon faced legal problems of his own. Yet he was a media darling because of his ideological slant.
The real #MeToo story is Hollywood, which is overwhelmingly liberal.
The power brokers are almost exclusively white liberal men. The same is true with media conglomerates themselves. Weinstein’s appalling behavior was an open secret in Hollywood. The media knew what he was, but they refused to report it because he was a major donor and fundraiser for Democrats.
In some cases, the very people suppressing the story we’re covering allegations against themselves.
Les Moonves was forced out at CBS over his sexually inappropriate conduct.
Progressive U.S. Senator Al Franken of Minnesota was forced to resign after multiple women accused him of sexually inappropriate conduct.
The evidence existed. The media pattern was consistent.
Unproven accusations against conservatives were taken at face value while liberals who actually did it were protected for years. Even PBS gave Charlie Rose a free pass for decades because of his liberal ideology.
Hollywood is nowhere near cleaned up. Unless the media can find a way to use the #MeToo scandal to force Trump out of office, they are expected to let this story die. Too many powerful liberal white men in Hollywood want it that way.
In some cases, the woman is the aggressor. New York Times reporter Ali Watkins. In this decade, she broke several stories involving the CIA. She was heralded as a dogged reporter. In 2018 it was determined that she was sleeping with her main source. She traded sex for access and information.
Former New York Times Editor Abe Rosenthal once said,
“I don’t care if you’re f-ing an elephant, but if you are, you can’t cover the circus!”
The NYT no longer cares about such conflicts of interest. Watkins is still an employed reporter as the Gray Lady continues to decline.
CNN, MSNBC, the New York Times, and The Washington Post have coverage that is over 90% anti-Republican and close to 100% anti-Trump.
This is not healthy for the media, the politicians, or the people.
For two years, Americans were told that President Trump was a spy of the Russian government who colluded with Vladimir Putin to rig the 2016 election in Trump’s favor. The media has demanded that Americans accept as fact that Russia meddled in the election. Yet again, one main question is never asked and never answered.
What did the Russians actually do?
Nobody seems to know. The entire Russia narrative was created to deny Trump the legitimacy that comes with an Electoral College victory. It also provides solace to Hillary Clinton and her supporters.
If they have to accept that she lost fairly, then they would have to confront that many people in many states between the coasts disagreed with her vision. Blaming Russia is easier than her taking responsibility for running a bad campaign.
It is also destructive for the country. One minute Trump is accused of being a Russian agent. Then in the next sentence, he is accused of being an ultra-nationalist. The media make these logically incoherent arguments in the same breath without a hint of honest intelligent analysis.
The two accusations are contradictory. Trump cannot be both.
CNN, in particular, has exacerbated this lack of trust by hiring rabid Trump accusers as supposed non-partisan analysts. Several of these analysts are now facing possible indictments for lying to Congress. They should not be reporting on the story when they are in the story.
Incoherence in the name of ideology was one reason the 2010s became the decade the media backlash officially arrived.
When Trump bashes the media, his supporters like him even more. When the media tries to push stories that most Americans do not care about, the people tune out. Examples of stories that fall on deaf ears are campaign finance reform, the death of Jamal Khashoggi, the name of the Washington Redskins, and climate change.
The media insists these stories matter. A large segment of the American people doesn’t believe them. This reflexive distrust of the media is understandable, but it comes with consequences. There may come a time when the media is telling the truth about a major story. Ignoring them will be perilous. But we will.
A strong, vibrant media is necessary to a free society, but that media needs to be trusted.
It may be impossible to get back to the days of Cronkite. Even worse, most media outlets have zero interest or incentive to do so. Opinion hosts such as Don Lemon and Rachel Maddow keep representing themselves as news when they are exclusively opinion.
Their viewers know this but support them because they agree with the opinion. Sean Hannity is a conservative opinion host, but he honestly admits this. He never claims to be neutral. Americans are watching different news stations, giving vastly different versions of the news, further balkanizing the people. This is dangerous to the health of our nation.
Next Page: 3.) Institutional collapse: Intelligence Agencies and 2.) Political violence and terrorism.